Local News

Cumberland ABC Stores Ban Employee Gossip

Posted April 12, 2006

— Gossip probably occurs in every workplace. People like to share stories and others like to listen. But now, one business is cracking down on busybodies.

Cumberland County ABC stores are cracking down on workers who gossip. Employees had to sign a form promising to avoid chit-chat and scuttlebutt.

Gene Webb, general manager of the county Alcoholic Beverage Control system, issued an order in February that bans gossip and threatens to fire anyone who spreads rumors on the job.

"Take care of the business in your individual store; do not try to get involved in the business of another store or employee," said the form. "If you get a call from someone about something happening in another store, ask that person if the information has something to do with you. If not, you are not interested."

Ironically, no one is talking about the new policy. When WRAL asked to speak with a manager on Wednesday, office workers said no one was available.

Tyler Nelson is a well-known Fayetteville businessman. He says he has never heard of such a thing -- through the grapevine or otherwise.

“I couldn’t believe that they actually were able to do that,” said Nelson. “I didn’t even know if that was possible, that you could possibly do that as an employer, stop somebody from gossiping.”

Employees in other workplaces cannot imagine a day without gossip either. When WRAL asked one worker if he ever heard good stories in his office, he said, “Yes, (I) can’t lie,” and laughed.

But the real question is: How will ABC stores enforce the new policy? There is no word if anyone refused to sign the gossip agreement or whether anyone has been fired for spreading rumors.


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